October 9, 2008

Pharmacy Farce

The Minister of Common Sense just got back from the pharmacy where I picked up two prescriptions. I can't figure out why the hell it takes SO LONG for them to fill these things. I went in the middle of the day on a Monday, and there was literally no other customers there. I gave them the prescriptions and said I would wait for it. Thirty minutes later, I was still waiting. What the hell?!

My prescriptions included 30 pills and a bottle of lotion (don't ask what I have, just know that it's not contagious). How long does it take to count 30 pills and grab a bottle of lotion off the shelf... maybe 90 seconds? So how does this whole thing manage to turn into 30-minute ordeal? If you put me behind the counter, I'd take your order, throw the stuff in a bag and hand it to you. How hard is that?

Pharmacies should be like fast food restaurants. At least at McDonald's they actually MAKE the food. Pharmacies aren't in the back cooking up the medicine or mixing the shit they put in the capsules, are they? So then why does it take so long?

Maybe they do it on purpose. I think a pharmacy takes so long to fill your order because they want you to think they are more important than they really are. I mean, what does a pharmacist actually do? They are professional pill counters, aren't they? Where is the skill, science (and time) required to do that? Now that computers can print out the description and directions for the medicine, what purpose does the pharmacist really serve at this point? Of course, you can't really complain to them because we're all too afraid they will intentionally mess up your order and give you pills that make you fat or something - the pharmaceutical equivalent of spitting in your food.

Sometimes there are other customers waiting there (so instead of taking 90 seconds to get your order, maybe it should take 4 minutes), and even though they give you a computer printout with all the instructions, they still shout out to you, "Here is your [insert embarrassing medicine], Mr. Smith. Have you taken this before?" You want to say yes to get out of there, but if you say no, then they embarrass you by saying, "You rectally insert it every three hours" or "Your Asian Mad Cow Rash should clear up in four days". Of course, there is a group of customers sitting around, who have been waiting for 30 minutes with nothing better to do than to listen to all this and judge you.

Why hasn't the whole pharmacy system been replaced by giant vending machines by now? You should be able to walk up, insert your prescription slip with a bar code on it (with the doctor's name, insurance info, prescription and your information) into the machine. The machine would then dispense the pills into a bottle and slap a label on it. Done. It would be infinity quicker, less costly (bye bye, pharmacists), and more accurate (no human error). If the industry still wanted to humiliate us, the vending machine could have an electronic voice that says, "Good luck with your gonorrhea, and thank you for shopping at Walgreens" after you pay.

On another note, aren't you surprised that the pharmacy always seems to have the medicine for your prescription? How is this possible? There has to be a million different kinds of medicines in the world, yet they always seem to have them all on hand. Maybe I've never had an ailment bad enough that it required some exotic medicine (thank god), but when have you ever gone to the pharmacy and had them say, "Oh, I'm sorry, we don't have this. We'll have to special order it"? I find that amazing.

1 comment:

  1. My friend and I complain all the time about this! Great blog.